Fred Zinnemann

Fred Zinnemann and Ned Scott became close friends during the production of Redes film in 1934.  The film was funded by the Mexican government but it was produced and directed by Americans.  Paul Strand was the producer and Fred was the director.  Redes film was his first directorial assignment.  Fred was asked to join the production team by his friend Henwar Rodakiewicz, a member of the Camera Club of New York.  Henwar had prior commitments in the American Southwest and he called on Fred to take his position on the production crew.  Later that year these men all bonded during production days of summer and fall in Alvarado, Mexico, and later they went to Hollywood to ply their specialties in the film business.  Fred was initially from Austria and had emigrated to the United States as a young man.  From a young age he developed a strong interest in film making which was to prove providential when he eventually wound up in Hollywood in 1935.  Some of his noteworthy efforts include, "High Noon","Julia", "A Nun's Story", "From Here to Eternity" (for which he earned an Oscar) and "A Man for All Seasons" (for which he earned a second directorial Oscar). It was a high point for me to have a short relationship with Fred Z toward the end of his life.  I shared letters and phone conversations with him over a period of about 18 months.  The thrust of that dialogue was the uniqueness of Ned Scott as a photographer of human beings, actors included, and the fondness with which he regarded Ned Scott.  One particular phrase I will never forget.  It was a phone call which discussed Redes film.  Fred stated flatly that he thought Ned Scott"s images from that film, especially the portraits of the town's residents (who acted in the film) were the best he had ever seen, or will ever see.  I said, rather too quickly, I think, that Fred felt this way because Ned had captured something heroic in the faces of the men.  Fred's swift reply was, "No, these photos are great because Ned had a pure respect for the individual."  Something that basic was lacking in other photographers, Fred felt.  And as it turns out, Fred was to develop this basic realism as a theme in his career as a director in Hollywood.

Fred Z, in his 1992 autobiography, gave enormous praise to his old friend Ned Scott.  While referring to the Redes film and its aftermath, he extolled the stills from the film as "classics".  Ned Scott and Fred remained friends for years, but after Ned Scott moved away from Santa Monica Canyon in 1940, they slowly drifted apart through distance. In a letter to Ned Scott in 1954, Fred bought up this point, lamenting the fact that they hardly ever got together.  The Zinnemann's lived in Mandeville Canyon, a community of Brentwood, and Ned Scott lived in La Canada.  With today's freeways in the Southern California area, especially Interstate 210, this distance is no obstacle.  But in the 1940's and 1950's, making the journey to and fro was a different matter with long stretches of two lane roads.

Fred Zinnemann